Yasmeen Michaels’ first hours of life were spent nestled in a cloud of dirty blankets on the front stoop of an orphanage in the Bronx. Even though rejection and loneliness peppered her life, she still fought hard enough to step out of her past a free, independent woman with a bright future ahead of her. Darkness descends when a shocking ripple in the organized crime world sends a grieving Romanian mobster back into her life. Yasmeen wakes to find herself in a centuries-old castle in Romania; claimed not as Lucian Fane’s lover…but as his pet.Lucian Fane is at ease in his place of power. He unapologetically lords over his business empire right alongside his criminal one. But when tragedy dares to cross his threshold, Lucian is sent into a tailspin and soon finds himself toeing the line between sanity and freedom. With his conscience gone, and in a bid to save his city from his wrath, he plucks an exquisite distraction from her world and tucks her away in his. Only then does he allow his demons free reign.
Even as Yasmeen once more finds herself fighting to hold onto her self-worth, the draw towards the darkness soon becomes too strong to resist. Will she be able to hold tight to her new owner as he freely drifts beyond her reach? Or will Lucian surface long enough to realize he’s pushing his precious pet too far to allow for forgiveness?
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“Would you like to put something on your feet?”
She looked down at her bare toes and shook her head. What if he left without her?
“I laid out a nightgown in your closet. Go get the slippers I put with it. If fact, change into the gown, too. I will wait for you.”
She bit her lip and looked at the door to their room, then behind her at the shadowy corridor. “Promise?”
“Yes, draga. I promise not to leave you on your own when you are so ill at ease. I am not that cruel.”
“’Kay.” She went back and didn’t even blink at the beautiful ivory silk creation she threw on after taking off her clothes. It was sheer, layered, and the cuffs and hemline were trimmed with the softest fur. She’d have felt like a cross between Mrs. Howell and Santa’s escort if she wasn't suddenly wearing a cloud made by angels. She paused at the sight of her reflection when she turned to slide her feet into the prettiest matching ballet slippers. Wow. Her mobster might be nuts, but he had superb taste.
“I do not want you in anything but the gown and slippers, Yasmeen.”
As Lucian’s voice drifted to her, she had to wonder if he’d want her at all if she gained twenty pounds, got a scar or two, and cut her hair to her chin.
Swiftly stepping out of her panties, she laid them out with the bra she’d already taken off and donned the slippers. When she walked out, she felt like a naked ghost.
Lucian’s chest rose swiftly when she rushed across the room towards him, layers of silk billowing behind her. She smoothed her hair down because she suddenly felt self-conscious.
He stopped her from darting past him into the hallway with an arm around her waist. Allowing the momentum to turn him into her, he backed her into the open door and pressed his body along the length of hers.
“Mesmerizing,” he breathed as he stroked from her hips up to her breasts with complete and total ownership. He rolled her nipples, passed over them a few times with his thumbs, then took his touch away once they were peaked and ready for more. “I want to have a structure built deep in the woods.” His hands came to rest on the sides of her neck, his fingertips pressing into the base of her skull. “Preferably underground so no one will ever find it. I would have them construct only one entrance, and I would have the only access code. Close your eyes.”
She held onto him with a grip on the sides of his sweater. She closed her eyes.
He kissed each one, lingering. “Do you know what I would keep in that solitary, impenetrable fortress, draga?”
“Your valuables?” she guessed as she gave up and went under the hem to get at his skin.
“Yes. But only one.”
“Oh. Uh, your money?”
Her eyes flew open. “Me?” she squeaked.
“I would lock you away and never let another soul anywhere near you. My face would be the only one you would ever again see. My voice would be the only one you would hear. My touch would be the last you would ever feel. And you would feel so much of it. You would exist for me. When I made time to visit, you would celebrate my very presence. Can you imagine a life like that, my pet?”
Ice flowed through her veins. “You would return to that fortress and find a corpse. Because if you ever made me live like that, I would kill myself.”
His fingers tightened until her head started to ache. “I would hunt you down in the afterlife if you did that to me. You would pay dearly.” He was looking down at her, but with a vacancy in his stare that told her he wasn’t really with her.
“Lucian?” She grabbed his wrists. “You’re hurting me.”
“You are hurting me.”
She couldn’t have been more shocked if he’d hit her. “What? How? Lucian, I’m here for you.” She brought her hands to his cheeks and stood on her toes so she could press her lips to his. His mouth was cold. “I want to help you.” The pressure he was exerting faded until he was simply holding her head again.
He tsked as he shook his head. “I want to climb inside you and stay there until you can’t survive without me. I want to f*ck your body. I want to f*ck your mind into an addiction you’ll never get over. I want you to crave my touch, my voice, the scent of my skin, the feel of my mouth on you, the sensation of my c*ck filling you, my tongue cleaning you afterward. I want you to need what I give you. I want it so you struggle to breathe when I am not within your sights. When you can no longer smell me, I want you to whimper with a desperation that matches what I am experiencing. I want this perfect, flawless treasure you are to be dependent on me for your very life.”
His forehead was resting on hers now and she’d long ago stopped breathing. Something in the very fabric of her existence understood those needs while the rational part of her found them repugnant. Excitement, terror, and a dark, writhing lust was crackling under her skin, heating her from the inside out.
He blinked and drew in a sudden lungful of air as if he’d just come out of a trance. He straightened and slid his hands down to her shoulders before placing a chaste kiss to her lips. “Do not worry, Yasmeen. I will send you home before I allow my demons to do those things to you. I know you deserve better. Now, come. You can sit by the fire while I attempt to work for an hour.”
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About the Author
Nancy Haviland, author of the bestselling organized crime series, WANTED MEN, writes about her alpha mobsters and their ladies from her home near Toronto, Ontario. She fights for space on her keyboard with her arrogant kitty named Talbot, and adores her Tim Horton’s coffee; as any self-respecting Canadian would. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching. A member of Romance Writers of America, Nancy is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, and is published by Montlake Romance/Amazon Publishing.